Polos longest-running sponsorship deal ends this year.

Cartier UK has confirmed it will cease backing one of the world’s biggest one-day polo events in favour of a more exclusive one at Guards Polo Club.

The international jeweller has supported the Hurlingham Polo Association’s (HPA) International Day at Guards for 27 years, but this year’s match on 24 July will be its last.

Insiders claim Cartier was concerned that the Chinawhite nightclub’s marquee detracted from Cartier’s own celebrity-packed one and that International Day, which attracts more than 20,000 spectators each year, had lost its exclusivity (news, 5 May).

Now Cartier has signed a three-year deal to sponsor the Queen’s Cup tournament, also at Guards, starting next year.

Colonel Paul Belcher, chairman of Guards Polo Club, said: “We are delighted Cartier UK will continue its association with the club.

The HPA’s International Day will remain at Guards and continue to be one of the most prominent fixtures in the English polo calendar.”

Cartier UK executive chairman Arnaud Bamberger said: “We felt it was time to change the formula to one that is more tournament-focused.”

The Queen used to present the Coronation Cup at the International but for the past few years she has missed the event.

Polo insiders also say Mr Bamberger was unhappy to share the day with other sponsors, including Audi, which sponsors the England team.

Cartier will be sole sponsor of the Queen’s Cup and the much-coveted royal connection will be restored for Mr Bamberger as The Queen still presents the trophies on finals day.

The jeweller is reported to be paying more for Queen’s Cup sponsorship than it did for International Day and the HPA is busy marketing its flagship event to potential sponsors, said chief executive David Woodd.

The Queen’s Cup has been sponsored by Harcourt Developments for three years.

This year’s final (12 June) will be dedicated to Ian Wooldridge of Harcourt Developments, and Guards chief executive Charles Stisted, who died in a helicopter accident in Ireland last year (news, 28 October 2010).

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (26 May, 2011)